Today’s ayah is a beautiful reminder for establishing Salaah, five daily obligatory prayers.
Guard strictly (five obligatory) As-Salawat (the prayers) especially the middle Salat (i.e. the best prayer – ‘Asr). And stand before Allah with obedience [and do not speak to others during the Salat (prayers)].
(Al Baqarah 2:238)
We Muslims, are blessed with a beautiful gift from Allah swt in the form of five daily prayers. Five times a day, we stand before Allah swt, conversing with Him and pouring our heart out to Him. After a reckless day, a restless day, a happy day, a worried day, when our heads go down in sujood before our Rabb, it is the most peaceful and protected feeling there is. It is when you know, that you are before the Creator of everything that there is, and nothing is hidden from Him swt and also, you know that no one loves you more than He swt does.
And if that feeling is not enough, then, know that for every prayer you make you are rewarded 10 times. As goes the popular hadeeth of the number of prayers having been reduced from 50 to just 5 while the reward remains the same, that of the 50 prayers! Alhamdulillah 🙂 What can be more rewarding than this obligatory act of mercy and kindness from Allah swt. He swt has made it obligatory for us, so that we get these blessings, these rewards. How merciful is our Rabb, swt. And it is a gift from Allah swt to His Messenger (pbuh) on the Night of Ascension to Heaven, which makes it all the more special! 🙂
In this ayah, Allah swt reminds us to guard our prayers, that is to pray the five daily prayers in their early fixed times and not to miss them. Salaah is the second pillar of Islam. It is an indispensable obligation on us, and rightly so, because once you get into it, your life becomes more rewarding and peaceful. One should be careful, not to neglect our prayers. By negligence is meant, that we should not miss our prayers for whatsoever reasons, and second, that we should pray them in their earlier fixed times.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “Verily between man and between Ash Shirk (polytheism) and kufr (unbelief) is the negligence of prayer.” (Muslim; 146)
How severe are the consequences of neglecting our prayers. It leads to kufr! May Allah swt protect us and keep us consistent in our salaah. Ameen.
Strictly we are asked to guard the middle prayer, that is the Asr salaah. There is a very strong emphasis on keeping up the Asr prayer in time. In a hadeeth narrated by Ibn Umar, the Messenger of Allah swt (pbuh) has been reported to have said,
“Whoever misses the Asr prayer (intentionally) then it is as if he lost his family and property.”
( Sahih Bukhari 527)
“Whoever leaves the `Asr prayer, all his (good) deeds will be annulled.”
(Sahih Bukhari 528)
Salaah is among the foremost and most important aspects of your relationship with Allah. The Importance of Salah can be understood by the fact that, “
The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.”
Establishing daily prayers and praying regularly in its proper manner with khushoo is a means of purification for your heart and soul.
“Verily, the prayer keeps one from the great sins and evil deeds”
When you turn to Allah in Salah, five times daily, in sincerity, in repentance, in obedience, then Allah swt promises you to make you pure of the minor sins that you might have gained between the prayers. This can be understood by the following hadeeth, wherein the Prophet (pbuh) asked the people,
“If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?” The people said, “No filth would remain on him whatsoever.” The Prophet (pbuh) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (Recorded by Bukhari and Muslim)
These are just a few benefits of Salah. There are many more which you can see and feel for yourself, once the sweetness of Salah enters your heart. While on this point, there is another aspect of prayer we should be taking care of – the khushoo!
Utmost care should be taken that prayer does not become a monotonous robotic ritual that you do five times a day. Prayer demands khushoo, consciousness and mindfulness from us. Without these, the real blessing and sweetness that Salah has to offer cannot be achieved.
More often than not, the most mundane, silly and sometimes a seeming solution to a problem that has been taking your entire day come up right when we are in prayer. These random thoughts are the waswasa (whispers) of satan, in order to distract us from worshiping Allah in the best of manners. We should train ourselves not to let these thoughts overcome our conversation with Allah swt. As soon as these thoughts come, we should seek refuge with Allah from satan.
Try to be more mindful during prayer, reciting slowly and not rushing through it, sitting, standing and doing all acts in a very calm and peaceful manner is what builds khushoo over time. May Allah swt help us with it. Ameen.
With benefits to Salah, come repercussions of not praying and abandoning the Salah. The most self explanatory among them being the following verses of the Quran.
And Allah says of the people of Hell (interpretation of the meaning):
“‘What has caused you to enter Hell?’
They will say: ‘We were not of those who used to offer the salah (prayers).’”
(Al-Muddaththir 74: 42-43)
In the last part of this ayah, Allah swt forbids us to talk during Salah. Make sure that you don’t talk while in prayer to anyone. This verse is clearly about talking to each other, but personally, I think, it can be applied, to talking to self too while in prayer, which is these random thoughts that chase us in prayers! May Allah swt grant us khushoo in our prayers. Ameen.